The University of Bedfordshire is marking LGBTQ+ History Month this February with a trio of remote events, including a Q&A with military pilot and transgender advocate, Caroline Paige.
The events are hosted by the University’s newly formed LGBTQ+ Network and are open to the public as well as all UoB students and staff.
They aim to increase the visibility, experiences and welfare of LGBT+ people in Bedfordshire’s community.
David Williams, Senior Tutor in Business and Chair of the University’s LGBTQ+ Network, said that it was important for them to launch the network in time for History Month.
“We are excited that our first big campaign will be to celebrate LGBT+ History Month which focuses on the celebration and recognition of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their culture, both past and present,” said David.
“Our members have already pulled together a great line-up of engaging events which we’re certain will help encourage discussion and raise awareness of LGBTQ+ history and culture amongst students, staff, friends, allies and the wider community.”
Q&A with Flight Lieutenant Caroline Paige
The first event will be a Q&A style ‘Coffee Morning’ on Tuesday 9 February with inspirational Flight Lieutenant, Caroline Paige.
Celebrated as the first transgender pilot to serve openly in the UK military, Caroline will share her experiences of serving in Iraq and Afghanistan and will discuss how everyone can support transgender inclusion.
Speaking about her involvement in the programme of events, Caroline said: “I feel privileged and excited to be speaking at the University of Bedfordshire‘s first LGBTQ+ event as part of this year’s LGBT+ History Month.
“I am always inspired by how the younger generations naturally recognise and respect LGBTQ+ diversity, with open inclusion, and nowhere is that clearer than when speaking to students and staff at universities.
“I choose to share my life story with others through events like these to show why diversity and inclusion is invaluable but still gets challenged, even though it enriches everything that we do and everything that we are.”
David said: “We are really excited to have Caroline Paige as a guest at our first event to mark LGBT+ History Month.
“Caroline is courageous and always honest but definitely humble. She has supported so many people on their journeys and has enlightened others about some of the issues that LGBTQ+ people face in their lives.”
Other events the University has lined up for LGBT+ History Month includes a Netflix Watch Party of‘The Boys in the Band’ on 16 February and a ‘Big Queer Quiz’ on 23 February.
Full details can be found online.
Following the History Month activities, the LGBTQ+ Network plans to run regular events each academic term. Another ‘Coffee Morning’ has already been scheduled with transgender advocate, educator and activist, Jessica Lynn, on 16 March 2021. For more information about this and other University events, visit beds.ac.uk/events
UoB’s LGBTQ+ Network officially launched in December 2020 and is an alliance of staff from both academic and professional services who either identify as LGBTQ+ or who want to support their LGBTQ+ colleagues and students.
Together the network will help to ensure the University of Bedfordshire is a place where everyone feels free to express themselves and can achieve their full potential, through awareness campaigns, tailored events and sharing news and information.
David said: “The University of Bedfordshire recognises the importance of networks in creating a positive, safe and open working environment for staff and students.
“We have made a commitment to setting up an LGBTQ+ network open to all staff members, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Anyone is welcome to join.”
You can get in touch with UoB’s LGBTQ+ Network by email firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @lgbtq_beds.